After weeks of complaints from Wagner PMC Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin about lack of ammunition and shells, as well as intentional sabotage he claimed stemmed from Russian high command, it now seems Wagner mercenary group will be retiring from the Bakhmut frontlines, according to Prigozhin, and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who will take his place. Wagner mercenaries have comprised the primary attacking force on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut during the past year plus, taking heavy causalities for a long time but especially recently (Prigozhin recently said they lost 100 men taking 100 square meters of land). This announced changing of Russian frontline forces, although both separate from the main structure, came after Prigozhin and Kadyrov exchanged a number of statements over the past days. First Prigozhin released a few final dramatic videos demanding ammo and criticizing Russian military leaders, even using a backdrop of dead Wagner fighters for emphasis. Then Kadyrov released a video saying he would be willing to take over responsibility for Bakhmut from Wagner. At that point Prigozhin made a request to Russian Minister of Defense Shoigu for the transfer. Finally today statements and auditory confirmations have been published by both militant leaders that the supposed rotation of fighters will happen. If real, and executed by the promised date of change of May 10th, this shift from Wagnerites to Kadyrovites will change fundamentally the operation and perception of Russian Armed Forces and aligned combatants in Ukraine.
Letter from Prigozhin to Shoigu requested the transfer, translated and original. Source: t.me/Prigozhin_hat
Prigozhin today published this audio clip: ““I thank Ramzan Akhmatovich for agreeing, having, most likely, the opportunity to receive everything necessary and all the necessary resources, to take our positions in Bakhmut. I am already contacting his representatives in order to start transferring positions immediately, so that on May 10, at 00.00, exactly at the moment when, according to our calculations, we will completely exhaust our combat potential, our comrades will take our places and continue the assault the village of Bakhmut. A little more than two square kilometers remained in Bakhmut. Bakhmut will be taken, no doubt, by the forces of Akhmat.” Source: https://t.me/Prigozhin_hat/3264
After Prigozhin, Kadyrov then published a 9-minute video on his Telegram regarding the change in frontline composition: “”Akhmat” subdivisions are ready to advance to Artyomovsk (Bakhmut). I have already signed a corresponding letter addressed to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief about my readiness to return the city and clear it of NATO and Ukrainian Satanists by the forces of the Akhmat units. The soldiers are on alert, we are just waiting for orders. Several subdivisions have already set off in the direction of carrying out the NWO. I am sure that in the near future we will liberate the city, despite all sorts of stuff about some kind of terrible counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We have already begun to develop our strategy of action in this area, together with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, taking into account the tactics of the enemy and the resources we have. And believe me, tactics will give positive results. The order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief will be carried out in any case!” Source: https://t.me/RKadyrov_95/3602
This comes as Wagner forces have advanced relatively far in Bakhmut recently, with both Russian and Ukrainian control-of-terrain mapping approximations reflecting this change. While not an exact calculation, a majority of the city has been taken by Wagner fighters and reflected onto maps, Prigozhin claims only a little more than two square kilometers of the city remain in Ukrainian Armed Forces control for Akhmat Battalion to take. Source: deepstatemap.live